- Caterina Mattei
The youngest of six children, and the only daughter of Giorgio and Bilia de Ferrari Mattei. Hers was a poor family in a poor region; her father was an unemployed blacksmith and tool maker, her mother a silk spinner and weaver whose work kept the family from starving. When she was old enough, Caterina learned the trade from her mother and helped support the family. Her father suffered from depression over their lot, and family life was often chaotic and disruptive.
At the age of nine, Caterina had a vision of Jesus, who appeared to her as a boy about her own age, told her that she should become a bride of Christ, and gave her a wedding ring in token. She began to have regular visions of Jesus, and of saints including Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Peter Martyr. Miracles began to happen around her; at first just simple things like a broken dish being repaired, and money and food appearing when the family needed it most.
She studied with a community of Servites. Caterina wanted to join the Dominicans, and began attending a small Domincan convent at age 23, but her family opposed her leaving; they compromised by her becoming a Dominican tertiary at age 28 and staying at home. The visions continued, and she received the stigmata, though the wounds did not appear to others until her death. Her neighbors were terrified of her and of the supernatural events that happened in her home, many claiming that she was a witch. The local Dominicans, fearing scandal, would have nothing to do with her. She was denounced to the Inquisition, and was called before a bishop‘s court in Turin, Italy, but all authorities found her innocent of any heresy or wrong-doing. She was eventually forced to leave the town and settle in Caramagno, Italy where she lived with two other tertiaries. The scrutiny and accusations caused her to reach such a level of despair that had her considering suicide, but instead she gripped her cross and prayed the harder.
Though her mystical gifts drove many away, others sought her out for her counsel and prayer. She had a special ministry of prayer for soldiers in battle. She became the friend of Prince John Francis Pico of Mirandola, who wrote a biography that gives us most of the information about have about her. The Blessed Caterina Brotherhood continues today, doing good works and celebrating her memory.
Jesus, is my only hope! – a phrase Blessed Caterina would repeat any time she was under stress
- “Blessed Catherine of Racconigi“. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 September 2016. Web. 10 December 2016. <>